c. 1600, "loss or impairment of the qualities proper to the race or kind," also figurative, "descent to an inferior state," from French dégéneration (15c.) or directly from Late Latin degenerationem (nominative degeneratio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin degenerare "to be inferior to one's ancestors, to become unlike one's race or kind, fall from ancestral quality," used of physical as well as moral qualities, from phrase de genere, from de "down from, away from" (see de-) + genus (genitive generis) "birth, descent" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget").
[Degeneration] means literally an unkinding, the undoing of a kind, and in this sense was first used to express the change of kind without regard to whether the change was to perfect or to degrade; but it is now used exclusively to denote a change from a higher to a lower kind, that is to say, from a more complex to a less complex organisation; it is a process of dissolution, the opposite of that process of involution which is pre-essential to evolution. [Henry Maudsley, "Body and Will," 1884]
1570s, "loud, harsh, complex sound, as of heavy things falling or breaking," from crash (v.). From 1718 as "a falling down or to pieces." Sense of "financial collapse" is from 1817; that of "collision" is from 1910; references to falling of airplanes are from World War I. Crash-landing attested by 1928. Crash-program in reference to rapid, intense instruction is by 1947; crash-course in the same sense is by 1958.
1939, "of or pertaining to desire felt for the opposite-sex parent," from Oedipus complex (1910), coined by Freud from Sophocles' play "Oedipus Tyrannus," in which the title character, the Theban hero, answers the Sphinx's riddle and unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother; from Greek Oidipous (see Oedipus). The name was used figuratively in English from 1550s for "one who is clever at guessing riddles," which had adjectival form Oedipean (1620s).
general name for a group of organic compounds consisting of carbon atoms in multiples of 6 and hydrogen and oxygen in the proportion of water, 1851, from carbo-, combining form of carbon, + hydrate (n.), denoting compound produced when certain substances combine with water, from Greek hydor "water" (from suffixed form of PIE root *wed- (1) "water; wet").
The name carbohydrate was given to these compounds because, in composition, they are apparently hydrates of carbon. In structure, however, they are far more complex. [Flood]
son of Laius and Jocasta, the king and queen of Thebes, from Greek Oidipous, literally "swollen-foot," from oidan "to swell" (from PIE *oid-; see edema) + pous (genitive podos) "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot." Shelley titled his play based on Sophocles' work "Swellfoot the Tyrant." Oedipus complex (1910) was coined by Freud. In Latin, figurative references to Oedipus generally referred to solving riddles. Oedipus effect (1957) is Karl Popper's term for "the self-fulfilling nature of prophecies or predictions."
The sense "program of action" first is attested 1640s. Unfavorable overtones (selfish, devious) began to creep in early 18c. Meaning "complex unity of coordinated component elements" is from 1736. Color scheme is attested from 1884.
type of two-seated, four-wheeled carriage, 1743, from Landau, town in Bavaria where they first were made. The first element is the common Germanic element found in English land (n.); the identity of the second is disputed. But Klein says the vehicle name is "in reality" Spanish lando "originally a light four-wheeled carriage drawn by mules," from Arabic al-andul. "These [landaus] are complex in construction and liable to get out of order, which prevents their popular use" [Henry William Herbert ("Frank Forester"), "Hints to Horse-Keepers," New York, 1859].
Astrological sense from 1620s. Meaning "operated by means of the sun" is from 1740; solar power is attested from 1915, solar cell from 1955, solar panel from 1964. Solar system is attested from c. 1704; solar wind is from 1958. Solar plexus (1771) "complex of nerves in the pit of the stomach," apparently so called from its central position in the body (see plexus).